Friday, June 26, 2009

Capturing the Desert in Pastels

The desert is a wonderful landscape to push a color pallet...especially when you are painting in the high noon sun. It seems to me to be easier in the late or early sun, as the colors tend to fall in the yellow-orange hue for early day, and magenta-violet in the late of the day. Mixing these colors with green may be difficult, even for veteran painters. The key is lightly applied layers upon layers with soft pastels.
The 3 paintings in this post were all painted as plein air paintings within 1 hour....which can be a challenge to those of us who don't practice this on a regular basis. But when the mood strikes, and the vision is there, it is time to paint! I often challenge myself with a close up of nature in plein air format instead of the overall landscape view.
The blooming cactus of the Sonoran desert in the spring have captured my attention and plein air inspiration. May it be told, I prefer to paint a plein air painting of something such as the cactus up close, especially on the wonderful, sunny, spring days here in my beloved desert.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Pastel Portrait of My Grandfather

I painted this 8"x 10" pastel portrait of my grandfather over a year ago and finally digitized it yesterday. I used a photo taken in 1918 by my great-grandfather, Ed Huebing, whom was quite the hobby photographer creating many photo albums which included a slew of documented information about the town I was born in, family events, and community happenings. I have several sepia-tone photos of my grandfather as a child that I would love to is a real treat to go back in time and use my family history to create from nearly 100 years later. Although painting them in pastel at this small size it is bit challenging!

To the left is the actual sepia tone photograph I used. It captured me especially because the expression on my grandfathers childhood face is one that I would see from time to time when I was growing up. It is also an expression I wore on my face as a child, I call "frump mode". My grandfather, Merriwell Huebing Sr. passed in his sleep in April at the age of 95. His love of nature, hunting, fishing and his art making inspired and shaped me to become the artist that I am today. Thank you Grandpa.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

New Pastel-Cactus Wren

I just completed this little 8" x 10" pastel last evening! I shot photos of these loud cactus wrens in April and just loved the pics I got, thus I was inspired to paint the little stinkers. I mostly took this small piece on as a study for a larger full body pastel in the future sometime. Hope you like!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Sketches for Race Horse Commission

Here are 2 sketches I just completed for a commission. I have not painted an equine portrait in years, but it was initially my beginning in art. My first national media attention, at the age of 16 came from pastel horse portraits, and growing up on a horse farm, inspiration came easily on a daily basis.
The portrait is of Goin' Dancin, a horse that belongs to dear friends and clients out of Lenexa, Kansas. I am fortunate to have spent live moments with this beautiful horse, as he currently trains and races at Turf Paradise, Phoenix, AZ, only 2 hours from home! I would love to hear your feedback, as to which layout you artists out there favor...or other comments as well. Looking forward to painting this beauty at 24" x 34" soft pastel on Wallis paper, and revisiting my love of youth.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

My Tucson Desert

I got a new Canon digital Rebel XSi this past fall, and have only found the time to experiment with it this past spring. I captured some incredible images as seen above a horny toad that sat on the edge of a large black ant colony. He blends in so well with the surroundings, in fact, James is such an ant lover, he walked over and surprisingly discovered him. I made the run all the way home to get the camera and when I got back, the little stinker (3" long) stayed still long enough to get some great shots. However, capturing him snarfing down the ants that came his way is another story. I got the timing right, but had the wrong aperture setting....blurrrryy pics!
This past spring has been the first real desert bloom we have witnessed. Above is an Ocatillo bloom, which can be incredible against the blue sky back drop. Most of the Ocatillo's in our back yard desert reach 12 to 20 feet in height, so this pic was taken from afar...The only insect I have witnessed on this cactus plant is a robber fly, which sit and wait for their prey to fly by so they can catch it in mid air, similar to catching a football if you were thrown a pass. I have thousands of these pics...just wish I had the time to blog them all...that is all for now, I will be blogging some new artworks this week...I'm excited!! Been too long.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Courtnie the Honey Bee Revisited

Thought I would get back to blogging, as it is something I've wanted to do for over 6 months. I just had a birthday edging me ever closer to 40, and feel that my diary has been here are some pics of a painting I performed at the Johnson County Central Resource Library, Overland Park, Kansas in 2005. You can see how my canvas begins pictured below...much like a kindergarteners"mess" with lines drawn all over the place. I love paint for this reason...I can re-draw and paint-over as many times as I need to until she gets there.

She is a 48" x 60" oil on canvas and fuzzy as a bear! She took 5 weeks to complete and will be the supporting role to Mildred the mantis for the 3rd book in our Children's book series. The librarians all said they wanted to hug her as I finished the final golden hairs......Imagine, huggin a honey bee....I find it odd to say, but I can:)
I must give a shout out to Suzanne Berry, a bug painter that has not only inspired me to blog again, but has rejuvinated my adoration and love of insects. Keep painting those incredible bugs Suz! Can't wait to see your next! More blogin to come....I mean it this time!